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The formation of galaxies is one of the greatest puzzles in astronomy, the solution is shrouded in the depths of space and time, but has profound implications for the universe we observe today. This book discusses the beginnings of the process from cosmological observations and calculations. It also considers the broad features of galaxies that we need to explain and what we know of their later history. The author compares the competing theories for galaxy formation and considers the progress expected from new generations of powerful telescopes both on earth and in space.
From a review of the first edition: "It is refreshing, in a market dominated by theorists, to come across a book on galaxy formation written from an observational perspective. The Road to Galaxy Formation should prove to be a handy primer on observations for graduate students, advanced undergraduates and theorists who feel too shy to visit a telescope." --Nature
"William Keel delicately balances observational evidence against today's relevant theoretical possibilities." --New Scientist
1. A cosmological cartoon.- 2. Galaxies today.- 3. The fossil record in nearby galaxies.- 4. Measuring galaxies.- 5. Galaxy evolution.- 6. The intergalactic medium.- 7. The initial conditions before galaxy formation.- 8. Active galactic nuclei in the early Universe.- 9. Approaching the dark ages.- 10. The processes of galaxy formation.- 11. Forward to the past.
From the reviews of the second edition: "The work is clearly a labor of love. It immerses the reader in a thorough explanation of the latest data from modern ground- and space-based observatories. From Hubble's original galaxy classification system to the standard cosmological model, it is all here. This is a well-organized, well-placed, and thoroughly referenced 'golden review' of galactic formation and evolution--a must have for any serious student or scientist in the field. Summing Up: Essential. Upper-division undergraduate through professional collections." (T. D. Oswalt, CHOICE, Vol. 45 (8), 2008) "Keel explores in this book ! that the assembly of galaxies as we now see them has occurred continuously over the past 12 or 13 Gyr and can be studied in at least two ways: by looking far back, at large redshifts, and by winkling out the oldest stars surviving in the Milky Way and other nearby galaxies. ! Keel's style is conversational; indeed the book is delightfully written, and the annotations to the bibliographic items pithy and informative." (Virginia Trimble, The Observatory, Vol. 128 (1203), 2008)